Ben Hogan's Major Championship Wins, 2nds, Playoffs and Records

Ben Hogan has one of the best records in major championships of any golfer. He won nine of them and came close numerous other times, and still holds a few records today. And that's despite playing the British Open only once and playing the PGA Championship rarely after his life-threatening 1949 auto accident. (The Masters and the U.S. Open are the other two majors of men's professional golf.)

Hogan had a whopping 30 PGA Tour victories before claiming his first major championship title. Just imagine how he would have been treated by today's 24-hour-news-cycle, social-media environment, and our insistence on identifying the "best golfer without a major."

That first major championship victory finally happened at the 1946 PGA Championship. Hogan then won eight of the next 12 majors he entered.

Hogan's 9 Major Champions Wins

  • 1946 PGA Championship: Hogan's first win in a major was his 31st on the PGA Tour. He destroyed his good friend Jimmy Demaret in the semifinals, 10 and 9. In the championship match, Hogan beat Ed Oliver, 6 and 4.

  • 1948 PGA Championship: Hogan beat Chick Harbert in the quarterfinals, then Demaret again (2 and 1 this time) in the semifinals. In the final, Hogan won over Mike Turnesa, 7 and 6.

  • 1948 U.S. Open: Just a few weeks after his PGA Championship win, Hogan won his first U.S. Open. He was just the second golfer to win both those titles in the same year, joining Gene Sarazen (1922). Hogan had a 2-stroke lead after three rounds. In the final round he scored 69 and won by two over Demaret.

  • 1950 U.S. Open: Remembered as "the miracle at Merion," this was Hogan's first win of any kind since his car crash the previous year. He won this championship in an 18-hole playoff against Lloyd Mangrum and George Fazio. Hogan shot 69 in the playoff, Mangrum 73 and Fazio 75.

  • 1951 Masters: Hogan trailed third-round co-leaders Sam Snead and Skee Riegel by one entering the final round. Then he shot 68 to Riegel's 71 to win by two strokes. (Snead skied to an 80 in the final round.)

  • 1951 U.S. Open: No golfer broke par through three rounds, then Hogan fired a 67 in the final round to win by two strokes over runner-up Clayton Heafner. Hogan was the first since Ralph Guldahl (1937-38) to win back-to-back U.S. Opens, and it wasn't done again until 1988-89 by Curtis Strange.

  • 1953 Masters: Now 40 years old, Hogan earned his second win at Augusta National. Hogan's 274 total was five strokes better than the previous tournament record. He won by five over runner-up Ed Oliver.

  • 1953 U.S. Open: Hogan's fourth U.S. Open victory started with a 67, the low round of the tournament, in the first round. He held a 1-stroke lead over Sam Snead after the third. In the final round, Hogan shot 71 to Snead's 76 and won by six.

  • 1953 British Open: Hogan's ninth, and last, win in a major championship was at Carnoustie. He shared the third-round lead with Roberto de Vicenzo. But in the final round, Hogan slowly pulled away with a 68, winning by four over a quartet of runners-up.
Hogan's near-fatal car crash happened in early 1949. He missed all of the majors that year, returning at the 1950 Masters. Because of the crash and the lingering effects on his legs, Hogan play sparingly over the rest of his career. That included mostly skipping the PGA Championship because, until 1958, the PGA used a match-play format and Hogan would have had to play 36 holes per day.

And like many American golfers of his era, Hogan typically skipped the British Open. This was due to travel costs and to the fact that golfers had to go through qualifying. (Another factor for most golfers, although not Hogan after his acccident: Many years the PGA Championship and British Open had dates that were too close (or even overlapping) for the travel requirements of the time.)

The one time — the only time — Hogan played the Open Championship was 1953, and he won it. Hogan played in three majors that year, and won all three. He was the first — and only, until Tiger Woods came along — golfer to win three of the men's professional majors in a single calendar year.

These are Hogan's victories by major:

  • The Masters: 1951, 1953
  • U.S. Open: 1948, 1950, 1951, 1953
  • British Open: 1953
  • PGA Championship: 1946, 1948
When Hogan won the 1953 British Open, he completed the career grand slam. That means winning all four of the professional majors over the course of one's career. And Hogan was only the second golfer to achieve that feat, joining Gene Sarazen.

Hogan's Second-Place Finishes in Majors

Hogan was the runner-up in a major championship six times:

  • 1942 Masters: Hogan tracked down third-round leader Byron Nelson in Round 4, but then lost by one stroke in an 18-hole playoff vs. Nelson (69 to 70).
  • 1946 Masters: Hogan 3-putted from 15 feet on the last hole and finished one behind the winner, Herman Keiser.
  • 1954 Masters: Another 1-stroke loss in an 18-hole playoff, this time to Sam Snead (70 to 71).
  • 1955 Masters: Cary Middlecoff ran away with this major, beating runner-up Hogan by seven strokes.
  • 1955 U.S. Open: In one of the all-time great upsets in golf history, journeyman pro Jack Fleck defeated Hogan in another 18-hole playoff. Fleck shot 67 to Hogan's 70 in Round 4 to tie, then beat Hogan in the playoff, 69 to 72.
  • 1956 U.S. Open: Hogan's chances sank when he missed a short par putt on the second-to-last hole. He tied Julius Boros for second, one behind the winner, Middlecoff.

Hogan took part in four, 18-hole playoffs in major championships, all of them noted already above. He won one of them and lost three of them. It will probably surprise most readers to hear that Hogan had a losing record overall in PGA Tour playoffs.

Hogan's Rankings and Records in Major Championships

Ben Hogan won nine major championships and finished second in six more. On the list of golfers with the most wins in majors, Hogan ranks fourth (tied with Gary Player), behind only Jack Nicklaus (18), Tiger Woods (15) and Walter Hagen (11). Due to his injuries, Hogan played in many fewer majors than any of the three golfers ahead of him.

Hogan's six second-places is tied for eighth on the list of golfers with the most major runners-up. His combined 15 first- and second-place finishes is tied (with Player) for sixth place.

Where he ranks on the Top Finishers lists for The Masters and U.S. Open (he didn't play the PGA Championship or Open Championship enough to qualify for these lists):

Top 5 Finishes

  • Masters: 9, which was the record when he retired but now ranks fourth.
  • U.S. Open: 10, which is tied for third-best.

Top 10 Finishes

  • Masters: 17, which was the tournament record until Jack Nicklaus (22), to whom Hogan still ranks second.
  • U.S. Open: 15, third-best in tournament history.

Top 25 Finishes

  • Masters: 21, which ranks fifth.
  • U.S. Open: 17, which is tied for sixth.

And here are some of The Masters and U.S. Open tournament records that Hogan once held or, in a few cases, still holds:

  • Hogan's winning score of 274 in the 1953 Masters was the tournament record until Jack Nicklaus won the 1965 Masters at 271.
  • Hogan's 22 birdies in 1953 was the tournament record until Seve Ballesteros had 23 in 1980.
  • His four second-place finishes remains tied for the most in Masters history with Nicklaus and Tom Weiskopf.
  • In the third round of the 1967 Masters, Hogan shot 66, including a 30 on the back nine. He was 54 years old. He still shares the Masters record for low 18 by a senior (50 and-over) golfer, and still holds the record for low back nine by a senior.
  • Hogan's four wins in the U.S. Open is a tournament record, one he shares with Willie Anderson, Bobby Jones and Nicklaus.
  • The 276 Hogan scored in winning the 1948 U.S. Open was the tournament record until Nicklaus' 275 in 1967.
  • Hogan had eight Top 3 finishes in the U.S. Open, which shared the tournament record (with Jones and Alex Smith) until Nicklaus reached nine.
  • Hogan finished in Top 10 of the U.S. Open every year from 1950-56, seven years running. That still shares the record (with Jones and Stewart Gardner) for consecutive Top 10 finishes in a U.S. Open.
For more about Hogan's major championship performances, see his year-by-year Masters finishes and year-by-year U.S. Open finishes.

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